I went along to my local church, the one I have written about, which is in Paulton. I attended morning coffee which takes place from about 10 o’clock until 11:30 AM every Tuesday. Coffee and home-made cakes are offered. Since I have just started attending the church, not many people know me but nevertheless I was welcomed. I’m very used to social occasions large and small inter-alia because I ran a large organisation London Village about which I have written before. I had no hesitation in walking in to the place where I don’t know anyone. This morning I arrived shortly after 10 and I was the first customer so to speak. We spent the first 20 minutes talking about this and that, the weather, the state of the heating system in the church, and other churchy topics but then a woman came in whose name I still don’t know and we started chatting.
She seemed quite comfortable talking about herself and the husband who assists a funeral director and is not remotely interested in gardening but collects model trams and trolleybuses. The conversation came up because her mother lived in Clapham, London and I was able to update her with information from my recent visit. She went to school very near where I went to school (Tooting Bec Grammar) and also the era of the trolley buses going up and down Streatham high road as I also recalled, and the time when Clapham North tube station was called Clapham Road. So, we had a good old nostalgia chat but I was also able to give her an update.
She also talked about the effect of medicines one upon another and how they interfere with the healing process which reminded me once more that we should try and avoiding taking pills whenever possible and return to natural medicine which for the most part was a satisfactory answer to many of the aches and pains of people have. She talked of a woman who continually complains about things, claiming she had various viruses and so on and I said she has an unhappiness virus. I wonder how many illnesses and conditions are caused by bitterness and loneliness, I suspect quite a number.
The general lesson I draw from this is that many people are afraid to go to something new because no one will talk to them. The fact of the matter is that everyone comes for social reasons. The community spirit is hard wired within us and if you go along somewhere with a genuine interest in other people you will always find someone to talk to. This applies to young people, old people, men, women, single, divorced. Once you get the hang of this, you will never want for friends. It is such a pity that the church has an image that is outdated. It is untrue that if you enter the church people will ask you about your faith and so on. Many of the social activities that take place in churches or on church property are not Christian as such but caring and community minded in their nature. I say this to people of faith or no faith, if you want to meet people, go along to your local church and introduce yourself, perhaps to the verger or sidesman, perhaps to someone sitting next to you and the odds are that you will be introduced around.
You will think to yourself after the event, why didn’t I do this before? I’m convinced that most of the loneliness that exists is unnecessary and if I had more scope to exercise my enthusiasms in my mind, I would create a national scheme for the sharing of ideas and spend some public relations money changing the image of the church. I have not quite got my head around the attitude of Catholics but I know that the Church of England and the Methodist Church are very keen to demonstrate the love of Christ in the form of welcome and greeting people as human beings. I think the saving in money from hospital bills, medications etc could be huge and could well exceed the cost of providing the service of communication.
I would like to devote more time to the evangelical church which is very much focused on saving souls and giving life to Jesus to avoid the attentions of the devil when you eventually pass over. I know that evangelical Christianity is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I will have to wait for a future tranche of inspiration before I can say something on this matter. If I’m not inspired and I try to force something it never works. It’s a bit like painting a picture. If you’re not in the mood then you might as well not bother. Do something else and wait for the magic moment.
Meanwhile, I must finish my diary for the weekend with the added bonus of enjoying the delightful blue sky and sunshine. Okay it’s only 3°C at the moment but with no wind it is ideal for walking and looking forward to the spring.
London seems far away as I occupy myself with local matters. I wrote to the manager of the hotel, a chap called George, to say that I was looking forward to returning.